A team of researchers from Japan, Nepal and Australia in recent years conducted a study that involved training community health workers, building the capacity of peer supporters and empowering patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus for the management of disease conditions. The focus of the project was to support primary health care systems in terms of designing and implementing the type 2 diabetes management approaches at the primary care level. The project used a randomized controlled design and was implemented in two districts (Kavrepalanchock and Nuwakot) of Nepal.

The findings of this study determined the significant financial burden of managing type 2 diabetes mellitus, impacting both individuals and healthcare systems in the country. One of the papers was led by researchers at Central Queensland University and published in MDM Policy & Practice, the study provides crucial insights that could reshape diabetes care practices and policies.

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Researchers conducted a baseline survey of a health behaviour intervention from September 2021 to February 2022 among 481 patients with type 2 diabetes in Nepal's Kavrepalanchok and Nuwakot districts.

The research reveals that the average cost of managing type 2 diabetes mellitus per patient over six months amounts to US $22.87 in Nepal. This expenditure is divided into direct medical costs (61%), covering expenses such as diagnosis, hospitalisation, and essential medications; direct nonmedical costs (15%), which include expenditures like transportation for healthcare visits and special dietary requirements; and productivity losses (24%), reflecting the economic impact of reduced work capacity due to type 2 diabetes.

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Notably, healthcare expenses were found to be higher among urban residents and patients with comorbid conditions compared to their rural counterparts and those without additional health issues. This disparity underscores the need for targeted interventions that address regional variations and the specific needs of different patient groups.

Lead author Mr Padam Dahal emphasizes the potential of integrating diabetes care into existing primary healthcare systems as a means to reduce costs and enhance the quality of care. Such integration not only promises better health outcomes for patients but also provides actionable insights for policymakers and healthcare providers aiming to optimize resource allocation.

Looking forward, the study advocates for sustainable healthcare reforms nationally by promoting integrated care models. Future research will explore how these findings can be applied across diverse healthcare settings and their long-term implications for patient health and system sustainability.

In a time of rising healthcare costs, the findings from these districts underscore the importance of proactive measures to alleviate the economic burden of type 2 diabetes mellitus. By prioritizing integrated care and preventive strategies, policymakers and healthcare professionals have the opportunity to improve diabetes management nationally, making healthcare more efficient and accessible for all.

This article brings hope to people with type 2 diabetes mellitus and encourages changes in healthcare policies to improve lives and lower healthcare costs across the country.

For more detailed insights into this groundbreaking research and the complete study, visit MDM Policy & Practice at https://doi.org/10.1177/23814683231216938 or contact the lead author (Padam Dahal), at [email protected])